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An Afternoon Photo Memoir

Around 1:30 pm on a hot and windy Monday afternoon, a small brush fire broke out between Moraga Way and Donald Drive in Orinda, California. Orinda is a small community about 20 miles east of San Francisco that is know for its schools and rolling hills covered with old Oak trees. Most of the fire appeared to be in the Orinda Oaks Park. The following are some of the details I was able to gather regarding the fire:

Estimated number of Fire Engines: 30

Estimated number of Fire Fighters: 90

Number of Aircraft: There were a few different aircraft used, including 2 Grumman S-2Ts and a helicopter.

Estimated acres Burned: 8 - 10

Alarms: 3

Retardant used: Possibly Phos-check

Cause: Three days after the fire, the suspected cause was a spark caused by a tractor. Dry, dead weeds were being mowed in the area, but it is not known if a tractor used for this purpose was responsible for the fire.

The day after the fire, there was one engine on duty near one of the fire roads looking for any possible flare-ups.

Fortunately, nobody was injured and no structures were damaged. I saw a few residents near the fire using garden hoses to drench areas around their property and several other onlookers watched and took photos. The pilots of the planes flying overhead flew low and fast to drop their loads of fire retardant despite numerous high-tension power lines surrounding the fire.

Please feel free to add any comments, information, or photos of your own on this page. As always, you can send them to me if you don’t have the time and I can get your experiences online for all to see. Contact me at morrism@memoirstream.com

By Michael Morris

Small Fire in Orinda, California on May 20, 2013

A Cal Fire Grumman aircraft drops fire retardant on a fire in Orinda, CA.

A Cal Fire Grumman S-2T
One of the primary aircraft used in fighting the fire.

A Cal Fire Grumman S-2T, tail number 85, fights a fire in Orinda, CA.

Cal Fire on the Scene
Cal Fire operates Conservation Camps in conjunction with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Crews are available to fight wildfires and deal with floods as needed.

Grumman S-2T
I believe they were dropping the fire-retardant Phos-check.

Smoke from a fire in Orinda, CA on May 20, 2013.

Another view of the fire
Orinda Intermediate School is in the background.

A view of a fire in Orinda from the Del Rey area on May 20, 2013. A crew from Cal Fire and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation arrive at the scene of a fire in Orinda, CA. Phos-check is dropped on a small fire in Orinda, CA. A Cal Fire helicopter fights a fire in Orinda, CA. Firefighters and smoke from a fire in Orinda with Moraga in the background.

View of the fire with Moraga in the background

Grumman S-2T circling in to drop retardant on the fire

A helicopter also appeared ready to drop water on the fire
I did not see it drop any water. I thought they might be getting water from Lafayette Reservoir.

A view of the fire from the other side of Moraga Way

A crew from Cal Fire and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation arrive at the scene of a fire in Orinda, CA.

Mt. Diablo
Both Mt. Diablo and St. Mary's College were visible from this spot.

Fire retardant is seen falling on a fire in Orinda, CA on May 20, 2013.

Grumman S-2T dropping retardant downhill of the fire

Burnt land in the foreground with Orinda and Moraga in the background. A view of burnt land rolling hills in Orinda, CA.

After the fire - looking northwest

Another view after the fire looking southwest

Click on any image for a larger version

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